Images by Danilo Lejardi at Lejardi.com
Oshun is the orisha of love and happiness. She is the one that makes the spirit full of life and love. Oshun also known as Ochun, Iyalorde, and Oxum is also known for her aide in maternity alongside with her sister Yemaya. Oshun is seen as a fair skin bronzed color woman who has a body and a smile to die for. Oshun is always seen with her revealing dresses and cocky and flirtatious ways. In the house of the priest or priestess she lives in a yellow or gold looking tureen where her secrets are kept. Her metal is of gold and she is adorned with lots of it. She is one of the happiest orishas as that is one of the attributes that she beholds. She loves the finest things in life and sometimes she is never satisfied.
Oshun had many relationships with the male orishas. These included from Chango, Orula, Ogun, Inle, Agallu and Asojano (San Lazaro). With her sensual and sexual ways, Oshun would conquer any man or obstacle that laid in her way. This orisha is not or was not a whore, it is that Oshun loved to take what she wanted and if by having a relationship with a man was one of them, then she would get what she wanted. Oshun is the owner of the sweet river waters in which her sister Yemaya gave to her. She was watched over by the mighty orisha Nana Buruku when she was young. She shared a close connection with Ochanla and she was very close to Olofi.
Her father is the great Obatala. He raised her since she was a little girl. One small pataki I’m going to tell you is that one day Obatala would always sing a particular song to his little girl Oshun. Day and night he would sing her this song and one day Oshun left the house and never returned. Years passed along and the great Obatala who was still depressed about the lost of his daughter Oshun, was walking through the woods near the riverbank. He was walking and he overheard a voice singing this particular song that brought memories back to him. Obatala said that there was only one person who knew that song and it was his daughter Oshun. He glimpsed by the river water and saw a young beautiful woman singing “Sawani Ibo Eleri, Leriche Oka Di Pola” (ceremonial song) and he walked up to her and asked her where did she hear that song. Oshun told him that when she was young, her father would sing that song to her everyday and every night. Obatala with a tear told Oshun that he was Obatala, her father, the same orisha that taught her that song. They both hugged and cried and were never separated there after.
Oshun’s color is yellow now and when I say now I mean that is the color that represents her in this time life. When Oshun was first born she had on a white dress. This was the only dress that Oshun had and owned. But everyday Oshun would go to the river and wash her only white dress. After a while Oshun noticed that her white dress was starting to fade into a bright yellow. Oshun was amazed and happy that she had a yellow dress because none of the adult orishas owned or had anything with the color yellow. From that day forward, yellow became the primary color to the orisha Oshun.
Pataki on Oshun
One day Oshun was at the river where she dwelled and was sitting at the bottom of it getting her garments ready to go to a party. She gathered all of her gold and yellow scarves and her glamorous head wrap. She grabbed her jewels and perfumes and headed to the surface of the river. She sat down and started to wrap her body in her silky scarves. She perfumed her body from head to toe and put her gold bangles and other jewelries on. She braided her hair and decorated it with shells and placed her head wrap in a fashion form that her hair style showed. All of this was done looking at her beautiful reflection in the mirror of the river water.
After she was dressed Oshun started to walk through the village heading towards the party. She noticed the little children that were playing, jumping and laughing with each other and that brought a great smile and happiness to her. Oshun walked pass them and sprinkled some honey on them and they became happier and they bowed to the orisha Oshun. Oshun missed the company of children as she saw how her sister Yemaya raise the divine twins. She kept walking and now she was heading through the forest. Her thoughts became deep with the fact that she wanted some type of youth activity and she sat down near Iroko (the cieba tree). She sat there and a tear came from her eye. Iroko looked at Oshun and asked her what was wrong. Oshun went and told Iroko of how she missed having children around her. How she loved the laughter and smile in a child’s heart. Iroko agreed and told her that the children of the world are truly something special to all of us. She asked Iroko to help her bare a child that she could raise own her own and love. Iroko who was magical told Oshun that he would help her indeed and she could pay him by coming by and spending time with Iroko as no one ever came by to keep the big Iroko company. Oshun said that she promise to keep him company and converse with him if she did bare a child.
Time went on and Oshun had a little boy. She loved and raised this young little bundle of joy and he was the center of her eye. Oshun one day was walking through the forest and came upon where Iroko was standing. Iroko greeted Oshun and told her that he heard that she bared a child. Oshun responded yes to Iroko and started to walk away, forgetting that Iroko helped her. Iroko asked Oshun if she was going to stay and keep him company and Oshun said politely no that she had something else pending. Iroko told Oshun that she had promised to keep him company and now she was not sticking to her deal. Oshun walking off turned and told Iroko that she was sorry and that she will bring him a goat to keep him company. Iroko agreed.
A year passes by and Oshun is again walking through the forest and stumbles on Iroko. She sits for 2 minutes to fix her scarves. Iroko was happy that Oshun was sitting with him and maybe they can have some type of conversation. As the minute he thought that, Oshun stood up and was gathering her things to start walking again. Iroko asked Oshun if she was going to stay and talk. Oshun said softly no and apologized. Iroko told Oshun that he thought she was going to sit and talk with him. He also told her that he was still waiting for the goat that she was going to bring him to keep him company. Iroko was bothered and Oshun noticing this, told him that she would come back later on and bring him some amala (cornmeal). Iroko agreed once again.
Another year passes by and Oshun was heading to the market place and she passed by her good old friend Iroko. She was in a hurry due to the market was closing. So walking by Iroko, she saluted him and gave him a smile. Iroko told Oshun that he was tired of waiting because he did her a favor and now she couldn’t live up to her words. Oshun baffled asked Iroko what words was he talking about. Iroko told Oshun that she had promised him a goat to keep him company, she promised him some amala as an offering and she has not bothered to bring neither or. Oshun hearing this felt very bad for the great Iroko and told him that she promise to bring him the child that he helped her conceive to spend some time with him. Iroko already knew how Oshun was but was gracious that she was one of the only orishas that spoke to him and with that Iroko agreed.
It has been a total of 5 years now and Elegua was walking through the forest and saw his friend Iroko standing at the same spot as usual. So Elegua walked over and greeted the great Iroko. Elegua sat under the shade of Iroko for hours talking and listening to Iroko’s stories that he has seen in the forest. Elegua who is always noisy sat there drank his rum and played with 5 precious stones that he had in his bag. Iroko then started to tell Elegua how happy he was that he stopped and talked with him. Iroko was very grateful and told Elegua that he loved for people to sit under his shade, in where he Iroko would give magical dreams to all. But Iroko started to tell Elegua how Oshun would also come by but she hasn’t been in a while. He also told Elegua how she promised to bring him a goat and some amala and she hasn’t brought it neither. Elegua who knows how his friend Oshun is told the great Iroko not to worry that he was there to keep him company but with that said and done, Elegua heard some juicy gossip in the winds that was coming from a nearby town. Iroko who knew how Elegua was, smiled and told Elegua to go about his journey and to stop by whenever he wanted to.
A couple of weeks later Elegua was walking through a village and saw some kids playing. So the childish orisha stopped to play with the kids. He saw one of them who was dressed in yellow with a red slash leave the company of the other kids and started headed towards the roads that lead out of the town. Elegua followed and stopped the kid and noticed that it was Oshun’s son Ideu. He asked Ideu where was he going and the little one said that he was going to meet his mother at the market place. Elegua told him that he was going the long way and showed him a short cut through the forest. Elegua also gave him 5 precious stones to give to his mother Oshun. He laid him a path and Ideu was on his way.
Ideu was walking and came across a big tree that was standing in the middle of the forest alongside with the other trees. He sat under it and started to play with the stones that Elegua gave him. When Iroko opened his eyes he saw a young boy sitting at his roots playing with 5 precious stones. He remembered when Elegua was sitting there only a couple of weeks ago playing with the same stones. Iroko grew happy as he thought that he had another friend that came to hear his knowledge and share the shade of his leaves. Iroko spoke to Ideu and the little one was amazed of the great cieba tree. Ideu told Iroko that he was the son of Oshun. Iroko hearing this thought that Oshun finally gave word and sent her son to spend time with Iroko. Iroko started to tell the little one stories and Ideu was intrigued. He told Iroko not to stop to continue and Iroko brought his roots from under the earth and brought Ideu to his domain to continue his story telling.
When Oshun came home she noticed that Ideu was not in the house and she wondered where he was. Days and months passed by and there was still no sign of Ideu. Oshun was frantic and searched everywhere she could possibly think of where he would be at.
5 years later Oshun who was still depressed, was walking through the forest and walked past Iroko. Iroko noticed that she didn’t speak to him as to her mind has been in the disappearance of her son. The look was written all over her face and Iroko knew why the happy orisha was not happy no more. He decided to do something about it.
The next morning Oshun was making her way through the forest and noticed Iroko was standing there happy as can be. She stopped and greeted him but not with the happiness as she had in the past decade. Iroko asks Oshun if she found her son and Oshun told her no. Iroko told her that she should always stay to her word and not promise something and don’t pay for it. Oshun nodded her head as she indeed understood what Iroko was saying. Iroko looked at Oshun and told her that he had a gift that she would love. And by him saying that, the earth opened and a hill was rising from it. This was no ordinary hill, this was a hill full of gold, jewels, money and riches. On top of the hill was the joyous Ideu. While Ideu was under the earth with Iroko, time went by very slow and he did not realize it. Iroko told him many stories and showed him lots of riches of the earth. Oshun seeing her son cried and grabbed him. Ideu told Oshun all the stories Iroko told him and the riches of Iroko. Oshun told Ideu that he would now guard her riches the same way he guarded the riches of Iroko from beneath. Oshun looked at Iroko and thanked him but she told him that he shouldn’t have done that. So from now on her children go no where near Iroko as she remembers what happened to Ideu.
Oshun’s feast day is September 8th. She is synchronized with Our Lady of Charity. Her number is 5 and all multiples of it. She loves all kinds of sweets, fine wines and champagnes. She loves all aromatic flowers and perfumes. She is the essence of flirt and seduce in both men and woman. Oshun has many children and her children are well protected under her power. She does consecrate on the head. With her main attribute the honey, she dominates everything in her path. She is an orisha that is always feared. It is said that she is sweet as honey but when you give someone too much honey what happens, they get repugnant. Oshun is an orisha to have on your good side because if she crosses your path in the wrong way, she will bring havoc to your lives. She rules the lower abdomen and the blood that runs through your veins. In Palo Mayombe Oshun is associated with Mama Chola.
Paths of Oshun
This path of Oshun is known as the vulture. Ibu Kole is the Oshun that reached the house of Olofi to tell him that the people on the lands were dying of thirst. With that said Olofi took off the punishment off the land and let rain fall again. This Oshun is said to be a very magical witch. She takes 5 little mortars where additional secrets are kept where her initiate can make powerful spells. Her colors are honey, coral, amber and onyx stone. She is adorned with feathers of a vulture. Her children must have a juiro where an Osain is kept that hangs over her to keep Ibu Kole in one spot and to make sure she is there in here tureen. When this Oshun comes down she dances like if she was a bird, swaying her arms up and down as if she was in flight.
This Oshun is said to be a great warrior. She wears pants when she goes to war. She rides on a horse and she uses a sword in battle. Ibu Ololodi is also the wife of Orula and she is his preferred apetevi. Her enemies can never defeat her. She protects her children to the up most. She takes the table of Ifa with the ekueles and the irofa. You can put iron implements to her. The owl is her messenger and she is invoked with a copper cow bell. Ololodi also takes a needle and thread as she is seen sewing on her off times at the bottom of the river. She is the mother of Aporoye and Oloshe. This Oshun takes everything double due to a pact she did with Boyuto. If you give her a mirror another one should be placed to her. If you give her one bottle of perfume there has to be another. She is the protector of the home. When this Oshun comes down she is very repugnant and she speaks very stern to her followers. Her colors are honey, coral with touches of green and yellow to represent the marriage she had with Orula.
Ibu Akuaro is the Oshun that lives where the river and the ocean meet. She is said to live and reign there. She loves the corodniz (cornish hen) and they are here messengers. It is said that with the feathers of the corodniz, you must sew her a net that lives on her. This is due to a story where she was running from Chango and a group of corodniz covered her completely so Chango would not find her. She takes a cane which is covered with the feathers of the corodniz as well and is consecrated where the river and ocean meet. Her colors are a pale yellow, coral, onyx, green and white. When Ibu Akuaro comes down she is seen to be shaken, imitating the corodniz.
She is one of the oldest Oshun. She lives at the bottom of the river sewing as she knows the craft to sew beautiful cloths. She doesn’t like to be bothered that much as she sits in her rocking chair at the bottom. When she is bothered she comes out from the bottom of the river and she fights. She as well as Ibu Ololodi is called with a copper cow bell. This path of Oshun is hardly to come down.
This Oshun is very young and she loves to dance. She is said to be where ever the Aña (sacred drum) is playing. She dances all day and all night until the Aña stops playing. At her tureen you must have 3 little drums that represent the Aña at her feet. She is always dancing in front of the drums holding her breast and laughing. A child of this particular orisha is said to always be partying and dancing and whenever they step into a ceremonial drumming, if they are a horse of the orisha, Ibu Aña will make her presence. Her colors are honey, yellow, coral, onyx and red. When she comes down she is always dancing and may take the time out to speak to her followers.
Ibu Ileke Oñi
This Oshun is a fighter and she gets what she wants. When she is determined she gets her results. This Oshun walks with a walking stick and she is always seen near the river banks covering her body with her honey. If she is not near the river you can see her next to a pariso tree. She walks with a net that’s tied around her waste. This Oshun has 4 necklaces that she wears. One is made of the peonia seeds, other is made of all coral, another of all onyx stones and a bead of honey and yellow beads.
This path of Oshun is said to reside in the lagoons. She is always dressed in pants and a shirt like a man. She is very tall and she is always seen with Inle and Asojano.
Ibu Aremu Kondano
This Oshun is said to be the first Oshun that ever came down from Olofi’s castle to the earth. She is dressed all in white and her color is off white with coral with just a touch of yellow and green. She is said to have helped Orula out is certain occasions. She is very mysterious.
This path of Oshun is said to be also a warrior. She rides a horse as well as Ibu Ololdi when she is at war. This Oshun is seen with a sword in one hand riding to battle. Her sacrificial foods must be offered with a ring or gold oar through its nose. Her color is honey, yellow, red and onyx.
This is Oshun is known to be a queen. She is seen with all her fine dresses and jewelry. She doesn’t like anything dirty or messy around her. Her sacrificial foods are sacrificed on top of a yellow plate that sits next to her.
This Oshun loves to debate and argue. She is a rare Oshun and is always seen by the river sands combing her hair with her coral comb. She loves to cook and she loves to fan herself with her fan made of African grey tail feathers and bells.
This is the daughter of Ibu Aña. She lives on the beach and river sands on top of all types of money. She does not like to give money as it is all for her.
This also is a rare Oshun. She is the boss of the Iyalordes. She loves to go out at night never during the day. She is said to be riding the river in a boat listening and answering her petitioners.
Ibu Idere Lekun
This Oshun lives in the caves alongside the sea where the waves enter and hit the rocks of the caves. Where they turn into rivers and travel on the inside of mountains. She has a deformed face and she is seen playing a small drum made out of bamboo.
This is an orisha that maintained and positioned the riches of Oshun on earth. When Oshun was spending her money like crazy she found herself without any money. Ibu Aye reaffirmed her money and showed her the right way to maintain and control it. This is a orisha that is received on its own. Her color is honey, onyx and her necklace is made the same with 5 shells intertwined in between.
This is said to be the lost child of Oshun. Where Iroko took him from her for the promises that she owed Iroko. He is the third child that Oshun had after the twins. He is received on its own and is said to watch over the riches of his mother Oshun. He lives in a yellow tureen where his secrets are kept with a doll of a boy dressed in yellow. His original bead is yellow with red stripes on them, gold and coral.
Ajé Shalunga or Cobo is the orisha of prosperity and abundance. He is used to help bring money and prosperity into ones life if there are worthy and right for it. His secrets are kept in a small sopera or vessel and his secrets are slightly born in a different way as to the other orishas. Same chants and sacrificial foods, but certain things change when he is born that cant be discussed here. He is also born with multiple coins from all parts of the world. It is said that when he is born, depending on the sign that he comes with, he will live next to a certain orisha in which he will bring prosperity to you. Only if your worthy! Don’t think by receiving him you are going to win the lottery or anything. Only if Olofi says your worthy for that. But health is also another form of prosperity and that he can bring to you. He has no specific color but his chain is made of different shells and coins.
This is an orisha that is said to have been the cook of Oshun. She taught Oshun how to cook all sorts of sweets and foods for her town. She is an orisha that is received and her tureen is kept either with the other orishas or live near or in the kitchen. Alongside her secrets, one puts a wooden spoon and fork to her with different bags of dried foods.